Criminalization of Chemistry

Annalee at io9 posted a story about a Saskatchewan university student arrested for having a chemistry lab at home. What’s most disturbing to me is that a few years earlier, Saskatchewan police evacuated a Salvation Army community centre after finding chemicals for a darkroom.

One interesting and unfortunate side effect of the consumer-electronicsification and digitization of leisure time is that practices like chemistry, which used to be a staple of various forms of geek home life, are now rendered strange and threatening. What other practices are now treated as evidence of criminal intent in our paranoid world where once they were evidence, of well, hobbies?

I don’t want to wax too nostalgic, though, since when my father was hired at the University of Minnesota in 1970, they still asked for a signed loyalty oath from professors. It seems the police state has simply moved on to new targets.

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